Aurizon coal boss Ed McKeiver has welcomed the commencement of a new coal haulage deal with AGL Macquarie, saying the operator was doing its part to help deliver 30% of New South Wales’ electricity needs.
The Queensland-headquartered Aurizon won the 8.7 million-tonne-per-annum haulage deal off Pacific National late last year, and formally took over on July 14.
The contract, which lasts through to December 2025, sees Aurizon delivering coal to AGL Macquarie’s Bayswater and Lidell power stations, from Peabody’s Wilpinjong mine, and Glencore’s Mangoola mine, via ARTC track. AGL Macquarie’s power stations also consume coal from BHP Billiton’s Mt Arthur coal mine.
“To support the new contract, we have a new team of 41 employees who are excited about not only running the rail services, but also managing the ancillary services associated with operating AGL Macquarie’s Antiene and Newdell coal unloading facilities,” said McKeiver, who took over as group coal executive when Aurizon restructured on July 1.
“The team has been in training and have trialled a number of test trains for some time to prepare for the contract start today. Out of the 41 employees, 16 have come from other areas of Aurizon, transferring internally from Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia, and bringing their experience and Aurizon’s operating knowledge with them.
“We also recruited 16 trainee drivers, allowing us to attract local people to the rail industry and develop them in a trainee driver program to become qualified drivers. Each of the 16 are in final stages of their traineeships as we commence operations.”
McKeiver said diversity was very much a focus of building the new team; 30% is female, 15% identifies as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. “Each team member will bring their unique perspective and experience to the workplace, and I am confident that they will deliver great results for AGL Macquarie,” he said.
The AGL Macquarie deal brings Aurizon’s contracted tonnages in New South Wales to roughly 55 million tonnes per annum. The company now employs around 330 people in the Hunter Valley.
“We have invested approximately $500 million in trains and facilities to further grow our business in the region,” McKeiver said.
“In the 2016 financial year, we hauled approximately 44 million tonnes of coal in the Hunter Valley, and opened our $180 million Train Support Facility at Hexham just outside Newcastle.”